December 2022/January 2023 Horsin’ Around – SUNSHINE STATE OPEN PLEASURE SHOW SERIES



Written by: Kym Rouse Holzwart

If you are looking for fun, well-organized and familyfriendly
horse shows in a relaxed and encouraging
environment that have something for everyone, look
no further!
The Sunshine State Open Pleasure Show Series was
initiated at the Alachua County Agriculture and Equestrian
Center (formerly Canterbury). The Series since 2019 is at the
Florida Horse Park in Ocala. It began as multiple one-day
shows but has grown to nine, two-day shows.
Shows in 2023 run March 18-19, April 29-30, May 20-21, June
10-11, July 8-9, August 5-6, September 9-10, October 28-29
and November 18-19.
Saturdays include Halter, Leadline, Showmanship, Trail, English,
Western, Arabian, Mini and Gaited classes, while Sundays are
devoted entirely to Ranch classes, including conformation,

ground handling, rail, pattern, reining and trail classes.
Show management team does everything possible to keep
fees reasonable and gives out as many prizes as they can. They
have also developed a convenient online reservation system.
Discounts are available for early registration and to 4-H.
Classes are for all ages and experience levels. Fun classes
such as stick horse and costume classes are held during
some shows, and practice and schooling classes are offered.
Patterns for applicable classes are available on the website
in advance of each show.
Various divisions are available, such as English, Western,
Gaited and Ranch. Three specific classes such as
showmanship, pleasure and equitation typically make up a
particular division, and the divisions are often divided by
age brackets and experience levels.

In addition to class ribbons and awards, Division High
Point ribbons and awards are given out at each show.
Participants competing in the applicable division classes
in at least five shows are eligible for wonderful end-ofthe-
year Division High Point awards.
A special series runs during the summer. And
outstanding clinics are offered in association with each
summer show. But you must compete in at least two of
the three summer shows to be eligible for the awesome
series awards.
During show mornings free coffee and doughnuts are
often provided. Breakfast and lunch food vendors
as well as equine-related vendors are always present.
Show memories are captured by the official show
photographer, Keli Wakeley. At the end of each year, an
event is held to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments
and give out awards for the entire series. If you are an
equine-related business, consider sponsoring a class or
division for one show, four shows or the entire year.
Whether you are a spectator, a competitor, a beginner or
seasoned show participant, come on out to a Sunshine
State Open Pleasure Show Series event.
Or better yet, every show in the series! Make sure you
bring the entire family! FCM